This is the first page in the pink section of my Rainbow Art Journal. The scrappy background was the result of me scraping leftover paint from other projects onto that page. I then created the bunny silhouette, inspired by the zombie bunnies I like to draw, and then added the (anatomically inaccurate) skeleton using a Posca paint pen. The execution is not my best work but I like Skelebun as a character so I think I may have a crack at drawing him in ink and watercolour.
I actually completed this illustration during a meet up with my local art journaling group. Once a month, we used to gather in a local coffee shop and work on our own art projects. That all came to an end when Covid sent us into lockdown in March 2020 and it has not been resurrected. The fact that this page was completed pre-pandemic is a reminder of just how long I have been working on this project. Man, I really need to get this journal finished.
I was not really in the mood for art when I sat down at my art table but I am trying to get myself back into the habit of making regular time for creativity so I pushed myself. I decided to do something quick, simple, and whimsical. Since the windows adjacent to my art table provide me with a good view of the birds in my garden, that inspired me to draw a very simplified bird. Because I was in the purple section of my Rainbow Art Journal, I had thought I was going to draw a chubby hummingbird. However, what I ended up drawing was an owl. I kept this page very simple – just three colours of acrylic and two paint pens. The illustration itself is blah but I do like the colour palette. Most importantly, however, I pushed myself to spend time on art as an effort to build back those art habits and my ability to get something accomplished in small portion of time. And, with that, I am done with the purple section of this art journal. Maybe I can actually get this journal project completed this year.
I have scores of Draw This In Your Style challenges saved over on Instagram. I find them useful when I have time for art but am short on inspiration. They are also useful for both reinforcing and honing the elements of illustration that make something identifiably my style.
One of the ones I have had saved for months was a witch with moss hued hair created by Heather Mahler. She has a very distinctive style and is also a digital artist so I thought it would be fun to give it a try in analogue. Working on this drawing, I realised how much more practice I need with drawing faces in profile. My skills in that regard have definitely atrophied over the several months in which I was not putting pen to paper. I never add tattoos to the figures I draw so it was fun to add all of those little glyph details to the drawing. This was a relaxing drawing to work on because I didn’t get stuck in my own head coming up with an idea or composition.
These skeleton women do insist on appearing in my art journals but I decided to keep this one much simpler. I also decided to work in a colour palette that I thought might be really clashing and visually discordant. Chartreuse is a colour I actually quite like in isolation but which I find often looks horrid juxtaposed against other colours so I decided on chartreuse and violet. It struck me that the colours were reminiscent of the colours of a bruise at different stages of healing. Not something a skeleton really needs to think about.
I seem to be cycling through a number of mixed media methodologies and, though it was subconscious, I think I am testing myself to see which skills I have retained and which I have lost but – more importantly – what techniques I still enjoy.
This is my first attempt at paint over really basic collage in a good while and – ooft! – I have definitely gotten rough. What did not help me at all was the fact that, through lack of use, my gel matte medium has gotten really thick and unyielding. I kept at it because I didn’t have a reasonable alternative available and because I thought the rough texture it was creating might be fun to work with. I was wrong. Not only did it create an awful texture, I was also working on this on a really humid day so everything began to wrinkle and warp. Honestly, had I not had a decent illustration on the reverse of this page, I probably would have ripped it out and binned it. Maybe if I persevered I could pull it out of the ugly phase? Nope. It stayed ugly.
I like the concept of a little white house beneath a glowing moon in a landscape using this colour palette but otherwise I pretty much detest this page in my Rainbow Art Journal. However, I have to accept the bad and the ugly if I also want to achieve the good along the way. It is all experimentation. And one important thing I have gleaned from returning to this technique is that I no longer find it interesting. While I will no doubt still build some collage elements into my mixed media dabblings, I am really not interested in paint over collage any more. And knowing that has real value in terms of knowing how to invest my art time.
This page is the transition between the blue and purple sections in my Rainbow Art Journal. I created a background without giving it much thought. I had anticipated adding more layers, perhaps some collage, possibly some spatter. However, I decided I would work on this page while stuck in the car while my kids had dental appointments so I grabbed a white paint pen and the background layer had to stay as it was. Waiting in the car can be incredibly tedious so it was good to have all of those branches to absorb me and make the time feel less plodding. It was actually quite meditative working on the branches and twigs. I thought I might add to this page but I have decided not to labour over this art journal and to instead just use it for quick experiments. I have been working in it for so long now that I would prefer my challenge to just be completing it.
This blog has gone a little dormant generally. What with the pandemic and all, I just have not been up to enough in my life that generates blog fodder. This blog has, however, gone especially quiet when it comes to my art dabbling. That is not for the lack of art in my life, however. On the contrary, I have been drawing near daily since June. I have been sharing the results of a personal challenge (illustrations of vintage photos) and now Drawlloween drawings over on my blog that is dedicated to only art. Since all of my art time has been invested in those projects, art journaling has been placed so much on the back burner that it is stone cold. While I intend to take a break from daily drawing, I am going to return to art journaling in order to keep up with regular practice and stop those creative gears seizing up from rust.
Draw This in Your Style (DTIYS) challenges on Instagram seemed like a good way to get back into playing around and experimenting in my art journal. The subject matter and composition is all set for me so I just need to – like it says on the tin – draw it in my style. I thought I would have a crack at a recent art work by Behemot titled “Pale Girl and Very Suspicious Cat”, not least because the monochromatic palette appealed to me aesthetically and in terms of time management. I am pleased with my version of the Pale Girl. I think my illustration shares DNA with the original but is very clearly my style. It is a fun challenge to translate digital art into analogue so I am going to seek out a few more of those I think.
Having just committed to getting back into the swing of making regular time for art and sharpening my skills again, I quickly lapsed because of a nigh impossible schedule. I literally had to make a spreadsheet titled “Schedule Hell” in order to navigate all of the many schedule clash problems I had to resolve. Essentially I need to be able to clone myself or develop teleportation. Since I suck at STEM, I just get to be burned out from the stress of having to be in multiple places at once.
Anyway, this is the page I managed to complete in my Rainbow Art Journal because the blue background was ready and waiting for me. This background is the result of painting leftover acrylic from other projects onto the page in a haphazard way. Since I enjoy drawing inaccurate skeletons, I decided to attempt a whale. The proportions are actually wackier than even I intended but that’s OK.
I feel like I have been working on my Rainbow Art Journal for an eternity. I definitely work on this project in fits and starts with long periods of neglect. Deciding it was time I got those mixed media muscles working again, I cracked open my Rainbow Art Journal and play around with some acrylic – a medium I have not used in months.
I am still malingering in the blue section of the Art Journal. I don’t think I am even half way through the pages yet but finally getting to the end of the blue section will, I suspect, feel like movement*. Blue often makes me think of sea and sky so that is what inspired this illustration of a lighthouse. It did not take me long to recognise the extent to which my painting skills have atrophied due to an extended period of not practicing. The results are ugly. It’s a very rough and patchy page and my lines are very wonky and wobbly, even by my own standards. It was tempting to give everything an additional coat of paint and start over but a) I did not have the time available and b) I figured it would be a place marker in my Art Journal, demarcating where I returned to the project and started over, and therefore provide a measure of the progress I can make from this point forward.
*A check of my blog reveals that I embarked on the blue section in September of last year. Even more staggering is the fact that I started the whole Rainbow Art Journal in January of 2017. I really am tortoising my way through this project!